Thursday, June 25, 2009

The meeting with Eli and Anna went well last week. It was the perfect Father’s Day for us. We went to church and then came back home for a lunch of smoked turkey and grilled veggies. After that, we headed north for the big introduction.
Anna was a bit off the week before, as she knew what was going on. Her behavior bordered on crazed at times. I contemplated calling the neighbors just to let them know that we were NOT beating her. The screaming reached epic proportions at times. Her behavior, which can be oppositional at times, went beyond oppositional to downright naughty. We had a discussion with one of our friends and he remarked “Well, she IS a Princess you know.” I think she realized that her monarchy was crumbling as there was a Prince coming in to help her rule.

We got to the foster parent’s home and all was well. Anna was happy to meet her new brother and charmed the foster parents with her insane cuteness. The foster Mom went out and bought Tod and I Father’s Day cards. Apparently she searched 3 or 4 different stores to find a Papa card for me and couldn’t locate one. I was incredibly touched by this lovely gesture and will hold on to this very first card, even though the adoption is not yet finalized.

We played, we talked, and we watched the two new siblings get to know each other. Sharing is not a new concept for Anna as she has to at day care, but this was meeting Eli on his turf and he had all the goods. It will be interesting to see how she does today when he comes to see his new house for the first time. His room is set up, and Anna has been jumping into the crib to relive her infant days. We have a big blue Ikea bag full of her old toys set aside for Eli, but she has been dipping in the bag to reclaim ownership. She lights up when we ask her who is coming over today, we’ll see if that mood sticks.

Anna was pretty mellow and laid back on Monday, and we spent the day at the pool swimming and hanging out in the sun. Apparently Eli was wiped out as well, as we got this note from his foster Mom:
Eli was definitely a whipped puppy! After you guys left I offered him a bottle (even though he hadn't had one in three days, I'm bad!!). I thought it would sooth him and settle him down so he could sleep well. You know how you sleep when you're over tired. He drank about an ounce and lapsed into a coma! I had to wake him up to get him ready for the doctor's appointment and that wasn't until 10:30! He took a four hour nap then a two hour nap around supper time. Then to bed at 8:45! HAHAHA

Perhaps Anna will get back into the napping mode once Eli is here. We can only hope.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Meeting my son

The day finally came. I was nervous with anticipation as I knew that later that night I would be meeting my son for the first time. Oh sure, I have read his medical and social history, so I feel like I pretty much know all I could about him. And then there were the pictures. Pictures speak a thousand words they say, but for me, I am the Doubting Thomas, I had to see him in person. I had to hold him, I had to play with him, and I had to see how he would respond to me as a person. He doesn’t know me as Papa yet, but after an hour or so, he was coming to me and bringing me his toys.
He’s a great kid; his smile can light up a room. He doesn’t talk yet, so he’s noisy in his attempt to communicate with us. Grunts, yells, and banging of toys are his main ways of communicating now, but according to his foster parents, he’s moving closer and closer to forming words each day. I am leaving my hearing aids home when we go and see him on Father’s Day.
He’s also walking quite a bit. He looks like a spider monkey when he walks, as he keeps his hands above his head as he toddles along.
We had a great visit, sharing stories and spending time getting to know the foster parents. They told us all they knew about Elijah and did their best to fill us in on his first year of life. The foster Mom is making us a book of his early life for him to take and have as a record of this time with them. I am thrilled that she is doing this for him and for us. We know so much about the bad that has happened to him, it will be nice to know the good.
So now we wait. Visits are lined up and we’re moving closer and closer to the day when he comes to stay with us for good.
Eli has an audience with Miss Anna on Sunday, their first meeting. If you feel the earth shake, it’s the two forces of extreme cuteness colliding north of Jackson. We hope it’s a good meeting.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cedar Point Memories

I asked my online friends to share their Cedar Point memories… here are some of their responses:

"One of my best Cedar Point memories was going with my Mom, Step Dad and brothers when I was in high school - the early to mid 80's. The Gemini was the new coaster and we had a blast riding on it. Mom didn't ride but the rest of us did if I remember correctly. That's ok Mom, I don't do coasters anymore either.:)

Another good memory was going with some of my classmates during high school. I think it was our Senior year. The park itself was fun but what I really enjoyed was the ride there and back. We went without any adults and that was such a great feeling of freedom!!! Good times....."

"The summer after my senior year, (the Corkscrew was new), me and some buddies had season tickets. We worked third shift so three days of the week we would get out of work, ride our motorcycles to a gym in Sandusky, get a work out in and then go ride the rides for a few hours. Also, and as our anniversary was yesterday, Wendy and I spent two night holed up in the Breakers during our honeymoon. It was cold and rainy, so most of the time was spent in our room. ;)"

From one of my diminutive friends:
"Being too short to go on the rides! (no surprise there huh?)"

"sneaking "things" onto the skyride. The upside down house, the big fat french fries covered in vinegar and ketchup (fries are not the same at all) Being able to wear a tube top (would be wearing it around waist level these days)
Enjoy yourself!! We love Camp Snoopy and the breakers Hotel."

"The last two years of high school I was able to go probably five times-- and I'd NEVER been ANY place like Cedar Point before that. Always I went with friends, and it was giving me a sense of what life would be like in the future, when you could CHOOSE with whom and how to spend your time...No matter what else they added, I always loved the Blue Streak the best. I rode it seven times one trip-- I always felt so free on it...That last summer, when it finally looked certain I would survive my childhood and escape to the UM to begin an adult life-- that was the best time of all, because I had such hope for my future being OK now. The last time I went was with my husband and in-laws, the year after, when I was 19. I'd never gone for an overnight to Sandusky so I was SO excited...and so CRAZY in love, and happy to ride all the rides with him...."

"I can't wait till the kids are all old enough to take them there. I have been there four times and have never been able to ride anything; I was either too small or too So I'm really looking forward to enjoying all of that for the first time with the five of them."

"I took Don on his first roller coaster in many (many!) years, and he spent the entire ride chanting "I will live through this. I will live through this. I will live through this..." Needless to say, that was h

Monday, June 1, 2009

Blogging for LGBT Families Day

This is my submission for the National Blogging for LGBT Families Day. This was one of the first chapters I wrote for the book.

When we first began talking about starting a family, our intentions were kept under wraps for a few months. I will admit that both Tod and I are pretty focused on what we do and what we want. And as teachers, we tend to over think most everything we do. Not that doing that is necessarily a bad thing. We decided to keep our desire for a family in the closet, as we wanted to test the water and see how things would float with our immediate circle of friends. We also wanted to make sure we could actually do this and make it happen before we got everyone excited and involved.

We also felt it was necessary to tell our parents together, as we didn’t want either one to know before the others. You know how grandparents get. We also wanted to make sure that they both found out at the same time. The logistics were a little daunting at first, but we finally found a weekend when both of them could make the trip to Jackson for the weekend. We couched the weekend as a chance to relax and visit and nothing more. Tod and I hadn’t really discussed the actual telling; we just got busy with getting them settled and getting started with dinner. It was early spring, so it was right in the middle of Lent. My folks had given up alcohol for the season and were happy chatting away with water and soda as we nibbled on appetizers and snacks. The time came for another bottle of wine to be opened (it was a family visit after all), and as the classes were filled my Dad proposed a toast to family, and I blurted out, “And to extending ours!”

If you remember any sketch comedy from the seventies, often times there would be a sound effect of a needle being pulled off of a record to simulate a break in concentration/conversation/etc. In my mental soundtrack that night, after I said that, my sound effects team supplied that sound bite in my head. The room became quiet, and I glanced at Tod who was staring at me with wide open eyes. As mentioned, we hadn’t really discussed HOW we were going to tell them, but this seemed like as good of time as any.

The questions started a second later as glasses were raised to drink. When the parents realized that they would not be grandparents to yet another dog or cat and that this was an actual human child, hoots, hollers, and tears started to flow from all of us as this revelation was processed. The wine flowed as well, as my Dad mentioned that God probably wouldn’t mind he poured two glasses for him and my mom breaking their Lenten vow to abstain. As you can imagine, there were thousands of questions to be asked and answered and as we settled in to eat, we did our best to get them caught up on our plans. They were a little upset that we had not told them earlier, but were pleased that we had provided such a family centered forum for the disclosure. We told them that once this started, we were implementing our own “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and it was one that served our sanity well. We told them that we would keep them posted with any news, and that we didn’t want a constant stream of emails and phone calls asking how we were doing, and what we were doing to start the family. All of the advice books had told us to set boundaries with our friends and families, as the questions can get overwhelming at times, especially if there isn’t any movement towards a child.

As the night unfolded, there were many sidebar conversations throughout the house. Photo albums and memories were brought out and dusted off as the news of this new chapter in our lives sank in. We began calling our parents Grandma and Grandpa, and they all seemed pretty pleased with that title. My mom retreated to the kitchen to do some unnecessary cleaning, but I think it was actually a chance for her to process the information and how she was going to deal with my brother and his wife who were adopting as well. As I came in to the kitchen to check on her, she came over with tears in her eyes and gave me a big hug, the kind of soul grabbing hug that is given at funerals, births, or weddings. She looked up at me and told me that I would be an excellent Dad and said that our yet born child would be damn lucky to have me as a parent. She held back some tears and quickly asked me if I had told my brother yet. I told her that I had not, as we wanted to tell them first. She steeled her jaw and said used her best sotto voce to say “you need to tell him.” As with much of Anna’s birth and adoption, there was good and bad to be dealt with. The issue of my brother was one that would haunt this entire process and remains an issue to this day.